Monday, April 18, 2011

Health Benefits of Following a Low Carb Lifestyle

After honestly following the low carb lifestyle for three months, you should expect the following to occur when you have blood work analyzed on your next visit to the physician, especially if you are a type II diabetic.  I have seen this information in a wide variety of sources, including Good Calories, Bad Calories and Why We Get Fat by Gary Taubes, an article by Michael R. Eades, M.D., and many other sources.

Weight loss.  If you are consuming 30 or so grams of carbs or less, you should show a substantial weight loss.

HgbA1c.  Your blood glucose profile should show substantial improvement over your previous reading, since carbohydrates drive blood glucose levels.  Eliminate the carbs, improve your blood glucose profile.

Total Cholesterol.  This will probably drop, but not by a great deal.  But this doesn’t tell the whole story.  Read on.

HDL Cholesterol (the “good” cholesterol”).  This reading should go way up.  This is a major benefit from eating all of those foods laden with saturated fats.

Triglycerides.  This number should go way down.  This is good for two reasons.  First, lower triglycerides correlate with greater insulin sensitivity, meaning your pancreas doesn’t have to work as hard.  Second, it correlates with larger LDL-cholesterol size (see below).

LDL Cholesterol (the “bad” cholesterol).  This reading may go up, into the worse range, and may cause your physician, if she or he is not up on the latest information, to express some concerns.  They might even want to put you on drugs to bring this number in line.  Don’t let her/him do this to you!  Small, dense LDL cholesterol particles are associated with increased risk for heart disease, but the larger, fluffy LDL cholesterol particles may actually protect you from heart disease.  LDL particle size is typically not measured in a lipid profile, but as triglyceride levels go down, LDL particle size goes up.  So if you have dramatically better triglyceride levels, you probably have the larger, fluffy, protective LDL particles in your blood.  On the other hand, if you have high triglyceride levels and low HDL levels, you are at much greater risk of heart disease from small, dense LDL cholesterol particles.

Triglyceride/HDL Ratio.  The lower this ratio is the better.  The low carb diet works dramatically better than the low fat, high carb diet at reducing this ratio.

Blood Pressure. You should see a significant lowering in your blood pressure.  Both systolic and diastolic blood pressure readings should go down.

Overall, you should experience a much lower risk of cardiovascular disease.

And just so you know that I am not making this stuff up, Gary Taubes has just posted his most recent lipid profile online (April 18, 2011), along with his daily menu (eggs, bacon, sausage, cheese, hamburger, butter, and a pound of steak for dinner).  Note that I wrote all previous paragraphs of this post before I discovered Taubes’ lipid profile online.  

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